When we start to think about Specially Designed Reading Instruction, I think it is helpful to start by viewing it in light of the continuum of instruction...or the RTI triangle!
Let's look at each Tier a little more closely...
IDEA tends to be our course textbook in Special Education - if you will. So what does IDEA say about Specially Designed Instruction?
Using a student's evaluations, determine the areas of reading in which the student demonstrates lagging skills and/or a disability. Incorporate those targeted areas into a student's IEP goals, and then, instruction. Now, we can check off the first component of some pricey packaged curriculum!
The next step in designing Specially Designed Reading Instruction is to be explicit in your instruction. Click the slideshow below for Explicit teaching tips!
To be systematic, you should follow a scope and sequence for your instruction. This should be a logical sequence to get a student closer to a grade level standard.
So let's say the student's grade level standard is to read CVCe words. The following would be a logical progression to mastery of that standard:
1. advanced phonemic awareness skills
2. letter identification
3. letter/sound identification
4. VC words (decoding and encoding)
5. CVC words (decoding and encoding)
6. CVCe words (decoding and encoding)
Below is another example of a scope and sequence...
In order to help students achieve these steps to mastery (and oh, you know, try to do it while simultaneously learning other new curriculum like their general education peers), employ multi-sensory learning! Make sure to always include a spiraling review of previously learned skills for reinforcement, and most importantly, teach all components of reading, just focus more time and intensity on a students lagging skill areas AND do it all through multi-sensory learning!
It is essential that this instruction be applied in the classroom to generalize the skill. When Specially Designed Reading Instruction is paired with reading time in the classroom with a general education teacher, a student will make faster progress!
Lastly, I know I probably don't have to say this, but I wouldn't feel right not saying it - as with all Special Education students, the most important step in designing Specially Designed Reading Instruction is to Adapt & modify for individual student needs!
Also, don't forget that a student eligible for Special Education services may not require distinctly different methodologies or interventions, but rather increased intensity. Or a student may require both! But ultimately, we should be giving a student what they need, not just because we can offer it. Our goal for Special Education should be to teach independent application of skills and strategies.
By Miss Rae
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Dear Miss Rae,
Help! How do I write IEP goals for a student using Wilson Reading?
I see students in a one-to-one and small group setting for reading. I use the Wilson Reading System with all of my students, but I struggle to write IEP goals because I ONLY use this program with them. How do I write IEP goals for a student using Wilson Reading?
Goal-Less Wilson Reading Teacher
Students with specific learning disabilities in reading need specialized instruction.
Wilson Reading, Orton Gillingham, Spire, Project Read, and others are examples of specialized instruction. Such programs work for students with learning disabilities in reading because they provide direct and explicit structured, sequential multisensory teaching of the basic elements of language for improved decoding and encoding!
All levels of language, including sounds (phonemes), symbols (graphemes), meaningful word parts (morphemes), word and phrase meanings (semantics), sentences (syntax), longer passages (discourse), and the social uses of language (pragmatics) are taught in conjunction with each other. This can make it difficult to write a targeted IEP goal.
Here are some IEP goals and objectives to choose from:
Given specialized instruction using a multisensory systematic phonics-based program, XXX will increase his/her reading levels for comprehension, decoding,and fluency to an end of first grade reading level by the end of the IEP period.
Given a multisensory language based explicit instruction in developmental skills which lead to decoding and word recognition, XXX will increase his/her reading skills for comprehension, decoding, encoding, phonics, word recognition and vocabulary development, to at least one grade level above his/her current instructional text level (XXX) with at least 97% accuracy as measured by running records, anecdotal notes, and assessments by the end of the IEP period.
Given direct instruction using a systematic and scientifically based reading instruction program, XXX will demonstrate accurate knowledge of reading skills showing one year's growth (Fountas & Pinnell Level XXX) with 95% accuracy.
Given direct instruction using a systematic and scientifically based reading instruction program, XXX will increase his/her reading levels for comprehension, decoding, encoding, and fluency from his/her current level of being able to use 1 syllable type (closed) to being able to use all 6 syllable types as measured by the end of the IEP period.
Decoding: Given 15 words in isolation at his/her instructional level, XXX will correctly and independently decode 80 percent of the words accurately.
Decoding: Given 15 non-contextualized CVC, CCVC, CVCC, and/or CVCe words at XXX's instructional level, XXX will correctly decode 80 percent based on teacher notes and charting.
Decoding: Given 15 words in isolation at his/her instructional level including words containing all 6 syllable types and learned prefixes and suffixes, XXX will independently and accurately decode 85 percent of the words.
Fluency: Given text and passages using controlled text at his/her independent reading level, XXX will be able to read 3-4 words together at a rate of 90 wpm based on charts, running records and teacher notes.
Fluency: When given text or reading passage at his/her independent reading level, XXX will use knowledge of decoding skills and word recognition to increase his/her fluency reading orally with appropriate rate, and expression at 90 words per minute with 90% accuracy.
Encoding (Spelling): Given dictation for spelling and grammar, XXX will correctly spell 75 percent of the words at his/her current instructional level based on student samples and teacher record.
Comprehension: Given sentences, paragraphs and reading passages at his/her instructional reading level (controlled-text), XXX will be able to independently use visualization and retell the facts/events with 90 percent accuracy based on teacher notes and benchmark assessments.
Comprehension: XXX will use learned reading strategies of summarizing, questioning, inferencing, making connections and predicting to answer right there and higher order thinking questions from text at his/her instructional level in 4 out of 5 opportunities with up to 2 cues.
Vocabulary: XXX will utilize decoding and context clue strategies to understand unfamiliar words when reading (orally and/or silently) content area texts with decreasing adult assistance in 4 out of 5 observations with 80 percent accuracy.
By: Miss Rae
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About 85% of students classified under a learning disability, have it in reading and language processing.
Reading is a whole brain skill. This means that it requires multiple parts of the brain to fire at once for students to be able to read!
Most comprehensive core reading programs, or Tier One programs, are able to light those multiple fires and teach our general education students how to read.
But what about our Special Education students with learning disabilities in reading? They need teachers to give them the matchbook, teach them how to strike the match, and show them how to ignite their fires!
Research has shown that multisensory instruction elicits changes in the way the brain is processing information and that struggling learners benefit from direct, explicit, and systematic teaching of the structure of spoken and written language, beginning with phonemes, in the context of a comprehensive reading program.
So all reading programs targeted for Special Education students should be…
So let’s look at 4 different Special Education Reading Curriculums!
So how do you choose a program?
Well, the 4 multi-sensory scientifically-based reading programs reviewed are all great programs!
Ultimately, the best strategies you can use for learning disabled students are multi-sensory strategies and strategies for independent access to the curriculum. So in reading, teach students the "rules" of the language for decoding (phonics) and for encoding (spelling). Explicitly teach these rules and in a sequential order. Then, teach strategies for comprehension. Comprehension strategies such as graphic organizers or tricks like PIE (author's purpose = persuade, inform, entertain) can be applied to all content areas and help for independent access to the general education curriculum.
But the key step is then giving students a chance to apply those skills to the general education curriculum! I can learn a whole bunch of rules and spout them back to you, but how does that help me read? Students must be given multiple opportunities and time to generalize their learnings!
Students with learning disabilities need more than all other students! They need time for direct, explicit and systematic instruction using a multi-sensory scientifically based structured language program PLUS additional time to apply and generalize these skills! Students should be given multiple opportunities and time to read trade books, poems, nonfiction texts, and more in order to close the achievement gap!
They say education is the catalyst for change so give your students the power to read and change the world!
By: Miss Rae
References: International Dyslexia Association, 2012. Dyslexia Basics. © International Dyslexia Association
Some of our students are reading over two years below grade level! This is not only shocking, but can also seem like a daunting task!
So how do we ever get these students to grade level?
We have to create comprehensive guided reading lesson plans.
First, assess your students. Determine their lagging skills.
Students usually fall into two categories for what is holding them back in reading.
The first group are those that struggle with decoding (sounding words out). The second are the students who are unable to summarize, retell, or answer questions about a text. This is the comprehension group.
If your students are struggling with decoding, use a phonics skill lesson plan for short targeted practice. If your students are struggling with comprehension, use a comprehension skill and strategy lesson alongside your guided reading lesson. If students are lagging in both areas, use a daily or weekly integrated plan to target both areas simultaneously.
Students who are typically reading significantly below grade level require an integrated approach to reading, targeting both areas: phonics and comprehension.
Comprehensive guided reading lesson plans should incorporate:
-extensive teacher-student interaction,
-multisensory learning methods,
-all components of reading: decoding (single word accuracy/automaticity), comprehension, vocabulary, sight word, fluency, plus + encoding,
-special emphasis upon mastery of foundational reading skills and...
-independent application of comprehension strategies to help ALL students access the general education curriculum!
Check out some Comprehensive guided reading lesson plans!
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Being a Special Educator is similar to choreographing a three-ring circus! The art of juggling should be a required course in Special Education educator prep programs.
From IEP writing to teaching to presenting at IEP meetings to many, many more important tasks, Special Educators must be skilled at varying and many areas of expertise; however, one aspect can be the most difficult to manage: PROGRESS MONITORING
The data is one of the single most paramount competencies of the field of Special Education; thus, data collection is one of the most critical skills a Special Education teacher can possess.
Without evidence, we just have beliefs, and beliefs do not hold up in court (remember IEPs are legal documents).
Data collection, on the other hand, can be annoying and cumbersome. Who wants to interrupt teaching to assess? And don’t we assess these poor kids enough?
As a result, then, assessment should be seamlessly integrated into teaching (and/or daily routines); but how do you do this when your “small groups” have varying IEP goals and objectives?
However, even if I have 10 students with 3 working on comprehension, 3 working on phonics, 2 working on vocabulary, and 2 working on fluency, they are at least all working on the subject area of reading.
So no problem!
There are five facets of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, and word study, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
As a result, all of the students in your reading groups will have IEP goals that fall within one of the subcategories of reading.
The first step, then, is to identify one assessment tool that can evaluate ALL students in ALL areas of reading.
The solution to all of these issues is employing what I call Reading Rubrics!
You can check them out HERE!
Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, and Word Study
Reading Rubrics expand on the tool of a running record.
As students are reading aloud, collect data on the section they read.
Write down the student’s errors AND mark the section the student read. But, first, record the text level of the passage being read aloud.
This will not interrupt the flow of the lesson or the teaching AND it can be done for each student in the reading group without pause.
Later, convert the number of words a student read correctly into a percentage for word reading accuracy. For example, if you wrote down 10 words that were read incorrectly and 30 words were read in total, subtract the total number of words read incorrectly (errors) from the number of running words in the text. So, 30 - 10 = 20. Then, divide the answer (words read correctly) by the total number of running words or words read. So, 20 divided by 30 equals 67 percent.
Word accuracy can help determine a student’s reading level:
Easy Text: 96-100% accuracy
Instructional Text: 90-95% accuracy
Hard Text: below 90% accuracy
Running records, not only provide educators with word reading accuracy, they are also a tool for identifying error patterns. Therefore, take time to analyze the errors a student made when reading words. For example, did a student read the words with /ed/ endings incorrectly?
Analyze a student’s reading thoughts on what sources s/he is utilizing for word reading accuracy.
Is the reader using meaning cues, structural cues, or visual cues?
While a student is reading, use a timer to gain a fluency score for a student. How many words does the student read accurately in one minute?
The Hasbrouck-Tindal oral reading fluency chart is a good tool for grade level fluency standards. The chart correlates oral reading fluency rates of students in grades 1 through 8, as determined by data collected by Jan Hasbrouck and Gerald Tindal to grade level expectations.
Vocabulary and Comprehension
When a student has finished reading a text aloud, quickly assess his/her oral reading comprehension.
Tell me about what you read. What was the setting? Who are the characters? What does this word mean in the text? What is the problem? Why was this a problem for the character? Did the characters try to solve the problem? How?
Note the level of prompting that the teacher provided.
Record the students level of comprehension on both literal and inferential questions.
The answers will enable the teacher to subjectively assess a student’s general understanding of the text.
Here's a quick video on how I use RUNNING RECORDS with my students!
While all of this data will not provide enough for evaluation purposes, Reading Rubrics will act as instructional tools AND data collection tools for progress reporting toward IEP goals!
~ By Miss Rae